LAST week, I held my seventh annual Apprenticeship Fair which was at Kingswinford Community Centre – giving local people an extra chance to find out more about some of the fantastic career opportunities available through apprenticeships.

More than 20 organisations exhibited on the day, hundreds of local people of all ages came along to find out about the different apprenticeships on offer, and it was great to hear lots of conversations between exhibitors and local people turn into sign ups and enrolments.

I also joined local councillors and members of the community in contributing to a new community mural at Wordsley Green.

Called the ‘Wordsley Together Community Mural’ and brilliantly put together by Saz’s Ceramics & Crafts, who are based at the Red House Glass Cone, the mural is made up of tiles displaying a mix of handprints and local organisation logos – representing the togetherness of the Wordsley community.

Also, in the Wordsley area, I had the privilege of joining children and staff at Belle Vue Primary School on Lawnswood Road to congratulate the school’s legendary lollipop lady, Delia Mills, on her 80th birthday.

Not only is Delia marking her 80th birthday this year, but also her 46th year in post at Belle Vue where she has helped children safely get to and from school since 1977.

The children bought and made cards for Delia, thanking her for her service, and also treated her to a number of Status Quo renditions they had been practicing for their favourite lollipop lady as they knew she was a big Quo fan.

The Mayor’s annual Civic Awards were a fantastic celebration of some of our community heroes, who do so much to make Dudley borough a better place to live and work.

Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees, and a big well done to this year’s Mayor, Councillor Sue Greenaway on holding such a wonderful event which raised lots of money for her three brilliant charities – Tough Enough To Care, Santa’s Black Country Toy Appeal and Macmillan Cancer Support.

April also sees campaigning for May’s local council elections step up. I know how much courage it takes to put your head above the parapet and stand in local elections, and so I would like to thank all of the candidates from all parties (and none) who are working hard to give voters a choice on May 4.

We are fortunate to have some extremely hard-working councillors and candidates, who have done a lot to make a difference in their local communities.

This set of elections will also be the first where we will all need to present photo ID to vote at the polling station.

Passports, photo driving licences, blue badges and lots of other photo IDs will be accepted and a full list can be found on Dudley Council’s website – along with support on how to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate for anyone who doesn’t currently have an eligible photo ID.

This is a national change, and people can also phone the Electoral Commission helpline on 0800 328 0280 if they need further support or advice.

I hope that you all have a very Happy Easter. As ever, if there is anything that I can help you with, please call my office on 01384 913123 or email